Choosing the Therapist Who Is Right For You

By: Julia Keys

It can be quite discouraging when you finally have a meeting with a mental health professional and you two just don’t “click”. Because therapy is a highly personal method of treatment, it is important to find a therapist that you feel understands you. Just like every patient is different, every therapist is different too.  When researching therapists, try to determine the way you like to approach your problems.

If you believe that there are unconscious processes that can help explain your emotions or behavior, then a psycho-dynamic therapist might be right for you. If you want to change the way you think in order to change certain behaviors of yours then you might want to give a cognitive behavioral therapist a try. If you are the type that is focused on the future then solution based therapy might be the right kind of treatment for you. If you want to work on your relationship with a significant other or your family, then maybe you could approach a family oriented systems therapist. If you feel as if none of these types of therapists seem right, then call potential therapists up and ask them to describe their approach until you find one that resonates with you.

Once you find a therapist that feels like a good fit, pay attention to how your sessions go. Do you feel like your therapist is a good listener? Do you feel safe in the presence of your therapist? Do you find your therapist nonjudgmental? Of course there are infinite factors that determine whether or not you and your therapist “click” or not, however the most important thing is to always check in with yourself and notice if the fit feels right. At Arista Counseling, we have a multitude of different therapists that can help you.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200712/how-do-i-choose-the-right-doctor

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freudian-sip/201102/how-find-the-best-therapist-you

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Anxiety and Politics

See the source image

by: Sam Matthews

The political climate in today’s day and age could certainly cause fear and anxiety for anyone in America. It is important to note that both fear and anxiety activate one’s attachment system. Your attachment system has evolved in order to allow you to develop strong relationships with your parents and peers, not engage in modern day political battles. This is because the system cannot differentiate between actual physical threats and imagined ones, causing it to be triggered when thinking about politics. We most commonly think about attachment figures being real people who we come into physical contact with, but a political figure or institution can easily become a symbolic attachment figure. This political figure can psychologically come to represent something that can protect you from threats and decrease your anxiety. When attachment styles are activated, they can bring out the worst in the part of the population that is insecurely attached, which in America is 45%. This situation has the potential to damage relationships, and could even bring on even more destructive behaviors. As mentioned, these problems trigger the attachment systems, causing the conflict to become more than just a superficial argument about politics, but an emotional issue, which cannot be solved through rational arguments and debates. It is normal to have anxiety about what is to become of the country you reside in, but the best recommendation one could give is to take a step back and all time to pass, and yourself to explore.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-freedom-change/201811/attachment-theory-elections-and-the-politics-fear

https://www.sharp.com/health-news/how-stress-over-politics-affects-your-health.cfm

Drug Abuse: Preventing Teen Drug Abuse

By: Toni Wright

Many teens are curious and experiment with drugs, whether due to peer pressure, stress at home, or just curiosity. According to Drugrehab.com in 2016 about 1.9 million youths ages 12 to 17 used an illicit drug in the past month. In addition to that, in 2016 1.4 million teens needed treatment for an illicit drug abuse problem. What many young teens don’t know in hindsight, or thoroughly think about, is that trying those drugs can have lasting long term effects that can change their lives forever.

Warning Signs:

  1. Changes in choice of dress
  2. Loss of interest in what they enjoyed (hobbies or activities)
  3. Decline in academic performance (failing classes, poor grades, skipping class, etc.)
  4. Recurring arguments, unexpected mood changes, and unspecified violent actions.

Family Influence

Parents, prevention can start within the household:

  1. Ask your teens perspective on drugs – Don’t lecture. Actively listen to your teens views on drugs. Reassure them that they can be open and honest with you.
  2. Discuss the negative impact drugs use can have – Emphasize how drugs can impact the things your teen cares about. For instance, health, appearance, school performance, etc.
  3. Go over ways to not give into peer pressure – Come up with different ways your teen can say “no” to drugs.

Overall, parents, you play a crucial role in your teen’s life. Provide support for your teen. Having a solid foundation between you and your teen may make them less likely to use drugs.

If you or a teen you know abuses drugs, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-prevention/teenage-addiction

https://www.drugrehab.com/teens/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teen-drug-abuse/art-20045921

Image Source:

https://www.palmerlakerecovery.com/blog/signs-of-drug-abuse-in-teenagers/

A Substance Abuse Guide for Parents

 

 

Grieving Vs Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

loneliness

Grieving Vs Persistent Complex Bereavement Disorder

By: Karime Herrera

Coping with grief can be difficult. You are in complete disbelief that your loved one, family or friend is no longer a phone call away. When grief begins to drastically disrupt your life, it is best to seek professional help.However, some people might not know when it is necessary to seek help. At what point does grief turn into persistent complex bereavement disorder? Persistent complex bereavement disorder is when an individual has been experiencing severe grief symptoms for over twelve months. Some symptoms that a person with PCBD encounters are trusting people, hallucinations of the person who has passed away, suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in preforming daily tasks, and constant feelings of sadness. If you are experiencing these symptoms for an extreme period of time it is best to see a psychologist in order to help you cope with your loss. A licensed practitioner can treat PCBD with cognitive therapy, mindfulness, psychotherapy or a combination.  Mediation might be helpful in relieving the symptoms and often helps individuals suffering from PCBD continue with their daily lives.

Stress: Effects of Stress

Image result for stressed brain

Stress: Effects of Stress

By: Vanessa Munera

When people talk about stress, what exactly is it? Stress is the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. With stress the body reacts to these changes with emotional, physical, and mental responses. Stress could either be presented as a positive or negative outcome in people’s daily lives.

According to Bernstein “Stress can occur in a variety of forms” (2016). Some stress can result in short events such as an argument with a loved one. Furthermore, other stress can manifest due to reoccurring conditions; for example, a demanding job, financial problems, and/ or long term illness. When reoccurring conditions cause stress to be both intense and sustained over a long period of time, it can be considered as “chronic” or “toxic” stress”. While all stress triggers physiological reactions, chronic stress is indeed to be considered a problematic issue that creates significant harm to the brain and the functioning of the body. In fact, “stress continues to be a major American health issue”.

If you have experienced a stressful event, a certain area of the brain called the amygdala, responsible for emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus functions as a command center in the brain, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that person has the energy to fight or flee”. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “fight or flight” response because it provides the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. Some of the affects from the “fight or flight” response are increased heart rate, deeper intake of oxygen, heightened senses, and the rush of adrenaline – also known as epinephrine, a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. Finally a hormone known as cortisol is released to help restore the energy that was lost during the response. When stress is no longer present, your cortisol levels to go back to normal as if nothing happened. In addition cortisol helps regulate metabolism and immune responses.

When dealing with chronic stress, cortisol levels are at a constant high, which eventually causes health problems. Although cortisol is a natural and healthy hormone in the body, constant high levels of it can be bad for your brain. High levels of this hormone can wear down the brain’s ability to function properly. As stated in the article, “it can disrupt synapse regulation, resulting in the loss of sociability and the avoidance of interactions with others” (Bernstein, 2016). In addition, chronic stress can kill brain cells and cause the brain to shrink in size. It has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex which is responsible for memory and learning. Besides chronic stress having effects on the brain, it causes effects to the human body. This type of stress can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, it can affect other systems in the body and cause them to stop working properly. This includes digestive, excretory and reproductive structures and exacerbates already existing illness. Fighting and managing chronic stress can be difficult; however it is not too late to learn how to manage it. Toxic stress can negatively affect the brain but the brain and body can recover from these effects.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic stress and are seeking stress management, please do not hesitate to seek help by contacting  Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

Sources:

https://www.tuw.edu/health/how-stress-affects-the-brain/

 

Obesity and The Brain

obesity and the brain

by: Sam Matthews

The popular belief today is that nutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, or sugars are to blame for the obesity epidemic in this country; however, as recently reported in the Scientific American (October 2019), researcher Kevin Hall has a different idea. He believes that the change in the way food is made is at fault for people becoming more and more obese as the years go on. Hall has done studies to prove this, and he shows that ultra-processed foods disrupt “gut-brain” signals. An example of this would be when one eats something such as a nonnutritive sweetener, the brain expects to be taking in a lot of calories, when in reality, it does not. This confuses the brain since the energy you use does not match the energy you brain perceived it would have, causing you to eat more.

Furthermore, most people don’t take into account that all calories are not the same. Foods filled with fats and sugars can be the same amount of calories as a healthier food, but you will still tend to gain weight because the difference lies in its nutritional value. Another study showed that eating a lot of ultra-processed foods has the potential to change the circuitry of one’s brain and in turn, increase sensitivity to food cues. This study was done on rats, and rats that gained weight from eating junk food showed a change in their dopamine system, which caused them to become hypersensitive to food cues. These rats did not show more pleasure while eating junk food when compared to thinner rats, but did show more desire and food-seeking behavior. This shows that consuming ultra-processed foods does not lead to satisfaction, but more of a desire for food, much like drug addiction.

Overall, the obesity epidemic isn’t solely due to specific types of nutrients, but the fact that food is processed to an incredible extent in today’s day and age, causing chemicals in the brain to change, allowing one to be fooled into thinking they want/need more food than they actually do. Once you gain a little bit of weight, it is a vicious cycle due to the changes in your dopamine pathways causing you to be much more sensitive to food cues.

If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from weight related issues or an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy. Contact our offices at 201-368-3700. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Image: https://mappingignorance.org/2017/08/21/child-obesity-brain-function/

Source: The Scientific American: Obesity on the Brain

Abuse: Men in Abusive Relationships

By: Toni Wright

A relationship is supposed to be a union between two people where both parties feel safe and comfortable with one another. They are supposed to feel loved, accepted, and appreciated by one another. However, sometimes that is not the case. Oftentimes people talk about how the woman in the relationship is being abused by the man. However, we should not overlook the fact that men are often being abused in relationships. Though it may not be widely spoken about, the man can be and sometimes is the victim in the relationship.

Abuse is not always domestic; it can be verbal and/or emotional.

Your partner may show signs of:

Possessiveness:

  • They are constantly keeping track of your whereabouts i.e. wanting to know what you’re doing, where you are, and who you’re with most if not all of the time.
  • They try to control where you spend your time and who you spend it with and if you don’t listen to them, they get angry.

Jealousy:

  • They isolate you from your loved ones, family and friends
  • They accuse you of being disloyal to them or flirting with others.

Threats:

  • They threaten to leave you or threaten to hurt themselves if you leave.
  • They threaten to use violence against you or your loved ones.

 

Physical/Sexual Violence:

  • They hurt you or your loved ones.
  • They push, shove or punch you, or make you have sex with them or do something that you don’t want to do.

Humiliation:

  • They belittle you in front of family, friends, or even on social media by attacking your looks, intelligence, abilities, or mental health.
  • They blame you for the issues in your relationship and for their violent blowups.
  • They say hurtful things to you, such as, “No one else is ever going to love you.”

Men, it may be hard to leave an abusive relationship for numerous reasons such as you may feel as though they actually do love you despite their behavior, you feel ashamed, you want to protect your partner, have a lack of resources, the list goes on. However, help from your family, friends, and a therapist can aid you through this trying time. Being a battered partner is nothing to be embarrassed about. Please don’t ever be afraid to reach out to any/all of your resources for assistance.

If you or a male you know is suffering from any type of abuse in a relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

Help for Men Who Are Being Abused

https://psychcentral.com/blog/21-warning-signs-of-an-emotionally-abusive-relationship/

https://au.reachout.com/articles/signs-of-an-abusive-relationship

Image Source:

Battered Men – The other side of Domestic Violence

 

Healthy Communication Skills

By: Toni Wright

Oftentimes when we’re communicating it’s just to respond and we’re not actually actively listening. Communication needs to not only be about active listening, but about listening to understand and comprehend. There are numerous ways to improve one’s communication skills with others, whether it is familial, platonic, or romantic.

1) Speak face to face – Texting is not beneficial when it comes to trying to communicate effectively. Pick a time where both parties are able to meet face to face. This way both parties are directly focused on one another and things are less likely to get misconstrued as they might through text.

2) Use “I” statements – When issues occur using “I” statements help the person feel less attacked. An alternative to saying, “YOU made me angry when…” is “I was feeling angry when THIS happened.”

3) Don’t interrupt or try to redirect the conversation to your worries – For instance, “If you think your day was bad, let me tell you about mine.” Actively listening and waiting to speak is not the same thing. One cannot actively listen and also think about what they’re going to say next when the other person is done speaking. The speaker will be able to tell that you are not giving them your full attention.

4) Look for compromise – Instead of focusing on who’s right or wrong or “winning” an argument try to settle in a place where both parties are happy. Whether it’s through compromise or finding an entirely new solution, it is important that both parties feel that they are getting what they want.

5) If you need help reach out for it – Sometimes communicating isn’t easy and during conflict it may be even more difficult to try and stay respectful or if the conflict doesn’t seem to be improving with solely just the two parties involved, it may be beneficial to see a therapist. Therapy can help one find new strategies to use when communicating that can be used to avoid future conflict.

If you or someone you know has trouble communicating and/or resolving conflict, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/effective-relationship-communication-skills/bb

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships-communication/effective-communication.html

https://www.verywellmind.com/managing-conflict-in-relationships-communication-tips-3144967

Image Source: https://www.marriage.com/advice/communication/communication-with-partner/

 

Anxiety: Social Media Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety: Social Media Anxiety Disorder

Tatyana A. Reed

Social media is very prominent in today’s society and nearly everyone has a social media account; whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Although social media can be great for promoting things, it is also negatively promoting an Anxiety Disorder which is also known as Social Media Anxiety Disorder. According to ePainassist.com, “Social Media Anxiety Disorder is a mental illness that is related to generalized social anxiety, which is acquired when social media interferes with the mental and physical health of a human being.” This can mean that the idea of not being able to check your social media can cause you extreme anxiety. Your anxiety may rise because of the number of likes you’re receiving on a picture, the number of repost on your tweet, or just not getting as many views on your story. Since this new form of anxiety is now increasing, ever climbing with more technology, most people have never heard of the disorder. In this article we will delve more deeply into the topic.

According to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), below are some symptoms of Social Media Anxiety Disorder:

  • Lying to others about how much time you spend on social media
  • Unsuccessfully trying to stop or reduce your use of social media
  • Loss of interest in other activities
  • Neglecting work or school to comment on Facebook or Twitter
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are unable to access social media
  • Overwhelming need to share things with others on social media sites
  • Having your phone with you 24 hours a day to check your social media sites
  • Severe nervousness or anxiety when you are not able to check your notifications
  • Negative impacts in your personal or professional life due to social media usage

At first glance, the symptoms probably seem like they would have no physical or mental effects on a person. That’s a false assumption. For starters, being on a phone constantly will affect your eyes by drying them out which then leads to headaches and vision issues. Furthermore, sitting on your phone all day, instead of being active, can cause issues with weight, lower back problems, and neck strain. Using social media constantly can also feed into OCD, depression, and feelings of loneliness, according to ADAA. We think social media is all about being able to connect and share happy things with others but many people subconsciously begin to compare their lives or physical selves to others.

 

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from SMAD, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

References:

ePainAssist, Team. “Social Media Anxiety Disorder: Causes: Symptoms: Treatment: Recovery Tips.” EPainAssist, 15 Apr. 2019, http://www.epainassist.com/mental-health/social-media-anxiety-disorder.

Fadar, Sarah. “Social Media Obsession and Anxiety.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, Nov. 2018, adaa.org/social-media-obsession.

n/a, n/a. “Social Media Anxiety Disorder All Occasion.” Zazzle.com, 2009, rlv.zcache.co.uk/social_media_anxiety_disorder_all_occasion-re4d11e0809ba45fbbbf7a966b6e2f527_xvuak_

Suicide: Suicidal Awareness, All Year and Every Year

By: Diana Bae

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Although today is the last day of the month, the awareness of suicide should not be limited to a single month. Instead, it is an issue that should be recognized every single day because in all cases, suicide is preventable.

2% of all deaths in the United States are due to suicide. The affected population is usually men of older age but as of recently, has also involved more teenagers and young adults (ages 15-24). The most common causes are due to feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, stress as well as the effects of psychological illnesses, like depression.

However, it is important to know that NO ONE IS ALONE WITH THIS STATE OF MIND. With the correct help, all of these difficulties can be helped when speaking with a psychologist. If you or someone you know has expressed these thoughts, including but not limited to: suicidal ideation, self-harm, extreme changes in behavior, and relying on substances, contact a therapist right away.

Arista Psychological and Psychiatric Services will be there to help those who are feeling suicidal and are dedicated to be a comforting source for those seeking for treatment. If you or someone you know would like to set up an appointment for our counseling services, contact us at our offices in Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY (212) 996-3939. For more information, please visit our website https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

For emergency situations: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/suicide/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide

https://www.apa.org/topics/suicide/signs

Image source: http://www.webgranth.com/alone-wallpapers-download-latest-hd-alonesad-wallpaper-free

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D)

By Tatyana A. Reed

As the weather seems to slow down and we shift from bright sunny days to cold winter nights, some of us may notice a sudden change of mood that comes with this weather shift. This change of mood is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “S.A.D is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer. Depressive episodes linked to the summer can occur, but are much less common than winter episodes of SAD.”

Signs & Symptoms

  • Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Having low energy
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Having problems with sleep
  • Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

Causes

  • People with SAD may have trouble regulating seratonin, which is one of the key neurotransmitters involved in mood.
  • People with SAD may overproduce the hormone melatonin.
  • People with SAD also may produce less Vitamin D.

 

Getting Treated

  • Medication: if someone suffers from S.A.D they can be helped by taking Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). However, like all medication there are side effects, make sure to speak with your doctor about this first.
  • Light therapy: the feelings of S.A.D can be lessoned by sitting in front of a light box that emits 10,000 lux of cool- white- fluorescent light for 20-60 minutes. The light is said to replace the loss of light from daylight savings
  • Therapy: it is best to talk with a psychologist, counselor, or someone in the mental health field when feeling different types of emotions that may be negative such as sadness or anger. Seeking help is the first step to eliminating S.A.D.

If you or a person you know is struggling with S.A.D, it may be beneficial to contact a mental health professional and receive therapy. The psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists at Arista Counseling and Psychiatric Services can help.  Contact the Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920.  Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.

References:

Koblenz, Jessica. “11 Things About Seasonal Affective Disorder That Psychologists Wish You Knew.” Reader’s Digest, www.readersdigest.ca/health/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder-facts/. (PHOTO)

National Mental Health Institute. “Seasonal Affective Disorder.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml.